Seven ways to be a successful beginner

Sometimes starting is the hardest thing to do. If you feel that your age, too many responsibilities or lack of immediate fitness make it too difficult to get on the exercise road again, bear the following in mind…

Just start

You have to start somewhere and it can take only one small act to get you on the road to more movement and a better lifestyle. That one thing might be as easy as scheduling an exercise session in your diary, just as you would a doctor’s appointment. All you need to do is make time for yourself, schedule in a few minutes at first, then build up over time. It’s that simple.

Make it special

How do you spend your most valuable resource, namely your time? Take a step back and try to examine your schedule impartially, without judgement. Is it full of things that you feel obliged to do? Do you allow space for spontaneity? It’s tempting to regard an empty slot (if you can spot one) as an opportunity to tackle another task but learn to value the gaps rather than rush to fill them.

Plan and prioritise

Don’t exercise in old gardening clothes. Time looking after your body and mind is an important thing but we’ve been conditioned to see it as a luxury or even as a waste of time. Start seeing it as compulsory. To help with this find a set of really comfortable clothes that make you feel good and make these your workout wardrobe. When those items are on, it’s time to focus.

It doesn’t take long

Remember that this is not a trek to John O’Groats! Exercise actually doesn’t take very much time – you’re probably spending more hours thinking about how you don’t really want to do it. The government recommendations are for 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate aerobic activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. That’s all you need.

Find the rewards

Every exercise newcomer must find something that’s cool and fun about what they’re doing. Find what you love about exercising – whether it’s getting those previously tight trousers zipped up or loving the strength you’re beginning to feel in your legs and arms. Whatever it is, focusing on that will make you want to exercise better and more.

Be realistic about your first session

Looking and feeling better won’t happen overnight, but it will happen quickly. You didn’t gain weight or consider yourself unfit overnight, so you won’t “fix” everything overnight either. But you will see differences incredibly quickly. Within a week, you’ll feel better, look better and have more energy. As Joseph Pilates said, ‘after 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference and in 30 you’ll have a new body!’

The morning after

A day or two after your first workout you might feel sore. That’s normal. This is how the body adapts to becoming fitter, stronger and working better, with better circulation, clearer skin, eyes and brain function. So if you’re a little sore, it’s a badge of success. You can also revel in the fact that you’ve finally got around to looking after yourself – a major achievement in itself.

Give yourself a break

If you feel you just don’t have time to exercise, there is another good reason to make sure you do: we all need to escape, to let our emotions and mind cool down. Exercising allows you to do this, and also helps brain and body function. Exercise isn’t just something we do, it’s also something we need.

Find out more

Nicki Philips is a qualified Pilates, TRX & Barre coach. After 10 years coaching and gathering her credentials she has developed her own training programme, Niix Method, that fuses the best of Pilates with cardio exercises into curated classes lasting 10-30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. Nicki believes that all women should feel strong, fit and confident despite our the ever changing bodies and busy lives.  Great results come from creating sustainable, health & fitness habits incorporating good technique. While running her own business, Nicki is also a busy mother of two girls, a step-son and a sausage dog.

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